Passover celebration may look different this year due to COVID-19

Coronavirus

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA)- Passover, a Jewish holiday traditionally spent with loved ones, may look a little different this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

“Passover is a very special holiday, it marks the birth of the Jewish nation,” said Rabbi Levi Hodakov with the Chabad of Clearwater. “The Passover Seder is usually celebrated with immediate family and friends. In fact, people make their plans months and months in advance where they will celebrate that Seder. This year will be more intimate as families will celebrate with their immediate family alone.” 

Rabbi Hodakov’s wife, Miriam Hodakov, runs kosher grocery store, Clearwater Kosher, directly next to The Chabad of Clearwater, where Passover preparation is already underway. 

“Passover is the one holiday where everyone is strict to keep kosher and they are only eating kosher,” said Miriam Hodakov. 

The cozy store connected to the house of worship allows customers to purchase items like Matza and other traditional ingredients for a Passover Seder meal, however, Hodakov says their inventory has changed due to COVID-19. 

“It’s tremendously affected us,” Hodakov said. “We usually have nice tray packages of chicken and meat. They are nice for the retail customer to buy and they are not producing it. The demand it too high and they can’t fulfill it.”

Clearwater Kosher is also taking the necessary steps to sanitize after each customer’s visit and for now, require shoppers to make appointments prior to stopping by their Belleair Road location. 

And while the coronavirus may complicate the eight-day holiday that begins April 8, Rabbi Hodakov says there is a Passover lesson that can be applied during this difficult time.  

“When God gave the Torah to the Jewish people, we were told that there was not one who was ill among them. This year as we cope with this terrible pandemic, we hope and pray once again, God will heal all those in the entire world.” 

For more information about the Chabad of Clearwater or Passover resources, click here.

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